Dirty Little Secret - #1

Cue "All American Rejects - Dirty Little Secret," definitely the soundtrack to this post!

So I've got a very dirty, dark secret. The strange thing is, I believe we share the exact same secret. It's a craze that has swept across our generation for a few years now and we can't get rid of it – and the sad part is that I don't believe that it's going anywhere.

I'm addicted...and I hope we can all participate in group therapy when I say this, I'm addicted...to social media notifications. 

There. I said it. It's out in the open and you all can take a deep breath with me because I know I'm not alone in this. We are a culture obsessed with likes, follows, retweets, shares, posts, and artificial affirmation. It's not our fault. The creation of this wildly obsessive trend has created an obsession of self-indulgence that is motivated by the power of the "Like."

Have you ever caught yourself in a moment that was too good not to post? Have you ever been motivated to go certain places or hangout with certain people just so you'll have something to post? I'll admit it – I have. We've all fallen victim to this. Sometimes we don't even notice it's happening, it's ingrained in our culture so much that we just do it before we have time to think about it. When traveling we "check-in" just to let people know that we're somewhere cool. When we are at concerts we try to get that "perfect shot" so everyone knows we are having the time of our life. We use every last connection to get a retweet from that person of influence to let our followers know we're slightly cooler than people might realize. I've done it all, and it's time to stop pretending you aren't doing it either. 

So what's the solution? How do we fix this? Stop tweeting, posting, liking, and sharing? Absolutely not. That is next to impossible in the world we live in. But there is a one step that I've enacted in my life that has helped me check my heart when posting on social media. 

Turn off the notifications.

Think about it, what fuels our habit of posting? It's the constant, "so and so liked your post on instagram," or "Justin Bieber Fan Page retweeted your tweet." It's all about the notifications. 

About two months ago I turned everything off. I uninstalled Facebook & Facebook Messenger (does anyone even use Facebook anymore??) I turned off notifications from Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. I unsubscribed from all of their emails. For one, they are all really annoying but secondly, it fueled my desire to fabricate moments in my life that could slightly look better than your moments. This was one of the best decisions of my life. I'm not constantly connected to the validation of others on social media. Think about it, isn't that what social media is all about? Back in high school it was all about whether or not you sat at the cool table that validated your social status. Now, it's about your follower count and how many likes you get on a photo. I turned it off, and I haven't regretted one second of it. 

My life isn't constantly revolving around me checking my phone or social networks. Yes, it plays a big role in my career, but my motivation has switched from "look how cool I am," to how can I actually connect and add value to those I follow and to those that follow me. 

I challenge everyone to evaluate your motives on social media. Mine were wrong, are yours? Try turning off your notifications and see what happens? Are you obsessed with the validation? 

Happy Monday :)


What's So Bad About Porn?

If you follow my blog, you know that we aren't afraid to address topics that might rub people the wrong way (no pun intended). I'm a very open person and like to address things from fashion, politics, and today - the topic of porn.

Ok WHAT? Why? What needs to be said about PORN? Isn't that kinda self explanatory? Why talk about such a "private" issue? What exactly is there to talk about in relation to PORN? It's just PORN!!?!

Let me first say that I am no expert, nor will I ever be. I'm just an informed friend of many who struggle with this issue.

I'm going to do my best to address a few statements I made yesterday on Facebook. If you haven't seen the comments I made, below is the post.

Yesterday I came across an article fightthenewdrug.org post about a billboard PornHub, an online porn site, put up in Time Square. Now, aside from wether you do or don't think porn is right or wrong, this billboard is too much. This was my original issue that I was speaking about when I made comments on Facebook. I then added the hashtag #PornKillsLove - this is where the discussion started. If you're reading this because you participated in the conversation last night – thank you. I read each comment and depending on what lens you view this issue through, all were diverse and interesting to read. Shall we begin?

Thought #1 - Porn isn't just a Religious, Secular, Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, or Straight issue. It's all of the above.

Interesting huh? If you're addressing porn from a Religious perspective, it's a horrible thing that shouldn't be talked about. From a Secular perspective, it's acceptable and everyone does it. LGBT perspective, depending on who you talk to - it's apart of subculture. Porn knows no title. I have Atheist Gay friends who are so anti-porn it's not even funny, but I also have friends in the church world who just say "it's a natural part of a man's life." So pinning this topic on one person group isn't relevant to the conversation we are going to have today.

Thought #2 - Porn – The Science of it.

For this thought, I need to let someone who is much smarter than I am to talk about this. Gary Wilson - Author of Your Brain On Pornsays it best in his 2012 TEDx Talk about the science of what porn does to your brain. Please watch this entire video, Gary proves porn isn't just situational feelings, or personality based addiction, it's scientific. 

Thought #3 - The Real Real

So here's my heart. The reason behind why I'm even talking about this. As a former small group leader to high school students, I've counseled many guys (although stats show that 18% of young women watch porn once a week) through the pitfall of being addicted to porn. I've seen it first hand ruin relationships that lead to divorce. I've seen teenage boys objectify women which lead to domestic violence and eventually time in prison. I had a friend who went straight into the porn industry right after high school, I spoke with him a few months ago when he retuned back home. He described it as "legal sex trafficking." Hello!!! We haven't and won't, in this post, talk about how the industry itself even works. Yes, these are all situational cases, but it all started with entertaining the idea that porn is natural – porn is just a process of life – everyone does it. 

I'm passionate about this issue because I see it destroying lives everyday of men and women who will never know what life, love, intimacy, is like aside from a screen. Whether you agree with me or not, it's overtaking our society. Almost a silent killer of sort. I made the decision in High School not to let porn into my life, I saw the affect it was having on my friends and I didn't want that. It wasn't because I was a "Christian," it was because I wanted to protect my future relationships and hopefully my future marriage, and family. 

My whole purpose from writing this blog was to simply start a conversation about an issue that is taking over my generation in a very real way. It's not to start a debate, because to be honest, this is a very public yet utterly private issue. In a marriage this issue is between you and your spouse. While you're single, it's an issue of heart and head. I don't have all the answers, but If I can help point just one person in the right direction, writing this was worth it. 

I'd love to talk with you more one-on-one if you'd like to discuss this privately. If you're in the Fort Smith area and need help with this, I can point you in the right direction of people and recourses that can help you with this. 

My last thought before I go enjoy the rest of my Tuesday, is that this addiction can be beatenNow obviously it won't be easy, but it's possible. I know of several men and women who have beaten this. You can too.

Thank you for stopping by, and I would love to hear your comments below. 


Other Thoughts:

Why I Stopped Watching Porn: Ran Gavrieli TEDx Talk
The Resurgence - A Guide To Sex & Porn
Fight The New Drug